Jennifer Baugus is a personal friend of mine. She is a member of my Bariatric Badass Facebook group. She is a true badass, a warrior queen who has been through so much. I am so honored that she shares some of her journey with us. All Hail, Queen Jennifer.
Please provide a brief introduction to yourself – name, any stats you want to include and a bit about what you do and how the surgery has impacted you so far.
My name is Jennifer Baugus and I am 35 years old. I am married and the mom of three daughters. I am also a teacher.
Jennifer, why did you choose to have Weight Loss surgery?
I chose to have wls because I have never been happy with what I saw in the mirror. From the time I was about 10 (when puberty hit) until just recently, I always cringed when looking at myself, shopping, being with others. It was a move out of vanity as well as maybe some mental health.
Can you tell us a little bit about your surgery journey?
My journey so far hasn’t been terrible. It has its ups and downs, but mostly it is good. I am 5 months post op today! My biggest issue is a Thiamine deficiency and that has been a major mind trip, but even given that, I would do it all over again. I started at 262 pounds and am down to 196. I have also lost 52 inches overall. From a 20 pant to a 10 and a 3xL top to a M/L. I do not follow a specific “plan” aside from protein first and all else in moderation. I learned long ago that deprivation does not work for me.
You and I have the same doctor, Steven Fass. How did you come to choose him? Would you recommend him to others? Why or why not?
I LOVE Dr. Fass and would absolutely recommend him in a heartbeat. I had a friend that went to MX for sx and she has a friend that went with Southwest Bariatrics. I gave them a call and they took care of everything else. My first appointment was October 5, 2017 and surgery was March 9, 2018. His office staff are fast, friendly, and efficient.
How is it going for you now? Would you mind telling my readers a little bit about your thiamine struggle?
I’ve been diagnosed with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome as a result of a Thiamine deficiency (vitamin B1). Even taking my supplements as prescribed my body quit absorbing it. It is a form of dementia that was most commonly seen in alcoholism until the sleeve surgery became popular. I now inject myself with 200mg of Thiamine daily. It hurts, but it is better that the alternative. I have some major memory problems as well as aphasia and problems driving now. I may never fully recover, but the injections have helped me to not get worse.
What advice would you give to folks contemplating the surgery? What have you learned as a result of being a WLS survivor?
Advice to give others contemplating wls, if you want to do it, do it…BUT everyone wants to become an expert in health and nutrition after and that is not the case. This is not a one size fits all or cookie cutter “fix” for everyone. All doctors have different plans and our bodies are all different. What works for me might not work for you and vise versa. Take it day by day, but remember it is YOUR life. You do you.
What are some of your non-scale victories? How much weight have you lost? How much weight do you hope to lose?
Some non-scale victories have been being able to complete a 7.5 mile hike at 13,000 feet without stopping or getting breathless! I also LOVE who looks back at me now when I see the mirror. I started at 262 down to 196 and want to stop at 150 (ish). Really health and happy is my goal.
What makes you a badass? I’ve got some ideas, but I want to hear yours.
My attitude makes me a badass. I will not be bowled over for anything. This is my life and I am my own person. I take no prisoners.